Following her introduction to Daily Practices with Ben Vickers, Sarah Shin from Ignota Books provides the first installment of a three-part series of practices to coincide with their publication of Altered States, a new poetry anthology. Shin invites V/A’s audience to engage in a yoga nidra meditation, that is, a form of “craftsmanship in time,” as the independent curator, author, and publisher puts it. Named Forest Dreaming, the meditation is a mean to access an altered state, which ultimately enables its practitioners to imagine altered worlds. And such worlds are not only longed for by spiritual seekers, but they also provide a source of inspiration for creators.
Forest Dreaming is a yoga nidra practice. Also known as yogic or contemplative sleep, yoga nidra supports active rest and conscious relaxation. Yoga nidra is a liminal state of consciousness between wakefulness and sleep that offers the opportunity to awaken and, at the same time, to dream.
In Forest Dreaming, you will experience a guided yoga nidra meditation that explores the connections between language, ecology, and consciousness. It will take place lying down, so ensure you are dressed warmly and comfortably, with any bolsters, eye pillows, or blankets you may wish to use to support you so that you can remain still for the duration of the practice.
You will be invited to form a sankalpa: a seed of heartfelt intention or resolve to sow in your mind during the practice. A sankalpa is a short sentence or phrase that speaks of an intention formed in the heart to create a change or an intention for your practice. It could be a statement about your nature or your purpose. Phrase it as a positive declaration or affirmation. The sankalpa does not take root in the thinking, intellectual mind; instead, try to hear your sankalpa as it comes to you.
Through practice, every circumstance can become an occasion for awakening to the imbricated and simultaneous nature of realities whose connection is profound but often obscure to the ‘ordinary’ conscious mind that overlays what ‘is’ with concepts and beliefs. Here, you may find something of the wild profusion of meaning emanating from the enigmatic interstices of our lives, refracted into a seed and containing, to paraphrase Donna Haraway, a history of practices inside its coat.
Practice series curated: Ignota
Forest Dreaming: Sarah Shin
Production: MJ Harding
Image: Sammy Lee